Duquesne Crumbles in 2nd Half, Loses 87-60 to Fordham
By LARRY FLEISHER
NEW YORK — With a fourth seed and the coveted double bye on the line in next week’s Atlantic 10 tournament in Brooklyn, Duquesne heard the hostility in another of New York’s five boroughs
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Then one play that went against them led to their downfall and ultimately cost the Dukes an extra day off heading into next week’s trip to Brooklyn, leaving them frustrated but ready to quickly move on from an ugly 87-60 loss to Fordham Saturday afternoon a few miles northeast of Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.
The double bye is no longer in the cards and the Dukes (20-11, 10-8 Atlantic 10) for now dropped to the sixth seed when George Mason beat Richmond. If they remain in sixth, that means a late tip-off in Wednesday’s second round followed by a possible late start Thursday in the quarterfinals if Duquesne can win in its opening game at the home of the Nets.
The Dukes are in position because of what unfolded after what ultimately became the turning point in their demise at the end of a successful regular season that saw them go from 6-24 to being in contention for a top four seed.
With 3:34 left and the teams tied at 30-30 apiece, Fordham star Darius Quisenberry made a drive through the lane. About halfway to the rim, he was met by Rodney Gunn Jr’s hard shot or swipe and following a few glances at the replay monitor officials ruled a common and technical foul, giving Fordham four free throws. Gunn also got a flagrant one foul for the contact and the technical foul was the additional contact.
“It got tied up with Quisenberry and then Quisenberry bumped purposely and then tried to flop,” Dukes guard Dae Dae Grant said. “He bumped him up purposely and then was aggressive. He tried to flop after RJ initiated contact after that and it looked like it was bad on RJ’s end because he had more control of the ball.”
What eventually became the turning point for the Dukes occurred about six minutes after they began with a promising start, taking a 25-17 lead when Joe Reece buried a 3-pointer over Antrell Charlton’s coverage.
“I think we were playing pretty well up until that point and then we just kind of lost it,” Dukes coach Keith Dambrot said. “I don’t know whether emotionally we lost our composure. Things went well for them and I felt like we were in good control of the game even though we weren’t up a lot and then after that they controlled it.”
Even with officials not seeing what Grant perceived to be a flop, the Dukes still had time to recover but quickly it was apparent a comeback was not going to happen, especially when they could reign in Fordham’s stars and get any of their key players going.
Besides drawing the foul that changed things, Darius Quisenberry scored 21 and had help from Khalid Moore’s 24 as the Dukes were outscored 70-35 over the final 26-plus minutes
Offensively Reece scored 16 but Grant never got going and was held five. It was the fifth time in single digits for Grant as the Dukes shot a dreadful 32.8 percent in a game they shot 3-of-22 from 3-point range in, matching a season low for 3s and sending them their largest margin of defeat.
“It changed the game big time, but we had another half, we had more minutes to play after that as well,” Grant said. “Give credit to them, they’re a good team. It’s upsetting but we understand we’re on the road. “We just have to be better in different areas, certain areas, play better as a whole.”
Quisenberry capitalized and the Dukes trailed the rest of the way, falling into a 45-32 hole by halftime. The halftime deficit came courtesy of an open 3 by Charlton from the top of the key moments after Reece was knocked to the floor by Moore within the vicinity of the rim.
It was officially put out of reach with about 13 minutes left when In a span of 74 seconds the Dukes were unable to stop Quisenberry from hitting two 3s sandwiched around a two-handed baseline jam by Rostyslav Novitskyl that made it 59-39 and by then only how much the final deficit would be the only suspense left and soon afterwards Dambrot was telling his team to move on to the bigger things lying ahead in Brooklyn.
“We had a good year, not a perfect year but a good year, a good comeback,” Dambrot said. “I just told our guys to flush it down the toilet, it’s ok it happens to everybody. Not happy that we lost, not happy that we didn’t play well but we just got to get ready for bigger and better things and more important things.”